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what are orthodontic braces?

Orthodontic braces are bonded to your teeth in order to move them into the desired positions outlined in your custom orthodontic treatment plan. They work to straighten the teeth, as well as improve the patient’s overall health through improved oral hygiene. Orthodontic braces are often made of metal, porcelain, or plastic. The composition will vary based on your diagnosis, and your treatment plan.

Who Can Get Orthodontic Treatment?

The best thing about orthodontic treatment is that it doesn’t exclude – anyone can pursue a healthy, better smile. There’s a common misconception that braces are just for kids and teenagers, but more and more adults are making the switch. Adults even tend to take orthodontic treatment more seriously due to the expense and responsibility, meaning it’s possible you may even get more out of it by pursuing it later in life.

Your teeth can move at any age, even if you had braces in your younger years. Sometimes teeth can shift back into their old positions over time if no retainer or other methods of maintenance are being used. In fact, almost 20% of orthodontic patients today are adults!

Early Orthodontic Treatment

The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends children first visit the orthodontist by the age of seven. This early phase of treatment is known as preventative orthodontics. Even at an early age, bad bites can easily begin to develop. Crossbites, underbites, overbites, and more can all be solved using expanders, partial braces, and various orthodontic appliances.

When Should Your Child First Visit The Orthodontist?

The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends children first visit the orthodontist by the age of seven. By this time, the first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in. This early phase of treatment is known as early or preventive orthodontics (Phase I).

What Does Early Orthodontics Treat?

Even at an early age, dental and skeletal problems such as crowded teeth, narrow or underdeveloped jaws, large or overdeveloped jaws, cross bites, overbites, and underbites can start to develop.

Early Phase Orthodontics Can Treat:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Thumb sucking
  • Tongue thrusting
  • Chewing and breathing issues
  • Upper and lower teeth that don’t meet correctly
  • Speech problems
  • Jaw growth and alignment problems
  • Potential loss or impaction (buried teeth) of adult teeth

What Does Early Orthodontic Treatment Involve?

Early treatment can include expanders, partial braces, and orthodontic appliances. It can reduce or prevent the need for more invasive treatment in the future and can help stop harmful oral habits.

Dentofacial Orthopedics

What is dentofacial orthopedics?

Dentofacial orthopedics, or growth modification, involves guiding the facial growth and development in children. The aim is to achieve proper balance and structure of the facial bones and jaws, as well as the surrounding muscles and soft tissues.

What does the treatment involve?

Orthopedic treatment can take place with or without conventional braces. The orthodontist diagnoses and treats the teeth, jaws, bones, and surrounding tissues, bringing them into a harmonious equilibrium. While treatments depend on the individual, orthodontic appliances like jaw expanders, jaw positioners, or functional appliances are often used.

Orthodontic Braces for Adults

Getting orthodontic treatment as an adult can do wonders for your overall health, and your confidence. These two things often go hand in hand.

Bad bites and crooked teeth affect more than just children and teens, and if you’re an adult with one or more of these problems, there’s no need to feel hopeless, or like orthodontic treatment is out of the question. In fact, taking the reigns and fixing issues with your smile may end up saving you money down the road, as a straight smile now can help you to avoid oral hygiene issues and costly restorative procedures later in life. Crooked teeth can easily trap food particles and bacteria, which can lead to tooth decay if you’re not careful. Straight teeth are far easier to clean, and have less potential to trap food for long periods of time.

Misaligned teeth can also cause other issues, such as jaw shifting, an uneven bite, distribution of forces, which may lead to TMJ issues down the road. TMJ issues are notorious for causing headaches and pain. Teeth that are straight and correctly aligned may be less prone to getting cavities, chipping, becoming irregularly worn down, developing gum or bone disease, or experiencing gum recession.

Clear Braces

The discreet way to straighten your teeth

Clear braces fit perfectly into the aesthetic that professional adults and older teenagers are often looking for when seeking treatment. Clear braces are tooth colored, traditionally non staining, and go relatively unnoticed. Not to be mistaken for Invisalign, clear braces actually operate the same way traditional metal braces do, delivering the same perfect smile results.

Clear braces tend to be used more on the upper teeth instead of the lower. They can also be used on the lower teeth if the bite is permitting. While they’re visually less prominent, clear braces do require a little more attention to eating habits as they’re slightly larger and more brittle than their metal counterparts.

Is it too late to get straight teeth?

There’s no age limit for starting orthodontic treatment. Getting orthodontic treatment as an adult may be worth the investment. Adult orthodontic treatment options like clear braces are great alternatives to traditional metal braces. You can achieve improved aesthetics while in treatment without compromising results.

What can Orthodontic treatment fix?

There are many reasons why our patients come to us looking for orthodontic treatment. Many common issues faced are crooked teeth, crowding, overbite, crossbite, overjet, underbite, along with missing or protruding teeth, which we’ll talk more about below. While all of these things pose aesthetic issues that can impact your self-esteem, bad bites can also complicate daily tasks and life. A bad bite can make speaking and chewing difficult, and can even cause uneven wear on your teeth. Misaligned bites are also known to cause aches and pains. Crooked teeth and crowding cause their own branch of problems, often pertaining to your oral health and hygiene. Crooked teeth create tight crevices and spaces in the mouth that are difficult to clean, which can lead to tooth decay down the road. Straightening your teeth and correcting your bite can prevent future serious oral health issues, and help you maintain great dental hygiene for the long term.


A common orthodontic issue is overcrowding in the mouth, with teeth overlapping with one another to create tight spaces and crevices. This creates difficulty when trying to properly clean between the teeth, and can eventually lead to tooth decay and other oral disease. This can also happen if you have small jawbones, and don’t have enough room in your mouth for all of your teeth to grow in properly with adequate space.


A crossbite is the direct result of a crooked or misaligned jaw, which causes the teeth to protrude and align themselves at strange and uneven angles. It’s typical to see upper and lower teeth intersecting with a crossbite, which can happen essentially anywhere in the mouth.

Teeth can easily become worn down with a crossbite, and their misalignment makes them very difficult to properly clean. With a lack of proper oral hygiene, a crossbite can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, even bone loss.


An underbite is when the lower teeth protrude past the upper teeth, affecting the appearance, aesthetics, and functionality of your smile. This problem is often caused by an undeveloped upper jaw, causing the lower one to jut out further. If you’re missing upper teeth, this can also sometimes lead to an underbite forming.

Like all other bad bites, having an underbite can make chewing and speaking extremely difficult, depending on the severity of it. An underbite can also lead to very uneven wear on your teeth, which can cause pain, discomfort, and assorted joint problems.

Open Bite

If you have an open bite, your teeth likely aren’t making contact when your jaw is completely closed. Open bites traditionally affect the front teeth, and are caused by many different internal and external factors. Most commonly, open bites occur due to old thumb-sucking habits from childhood, or a genetically abnormal bone structure.

If your teeth aren’t meeting properly, this can make chewing both difficult and painful. Because your teeth also affect the way you speak and pronounce words, an open bite can even be the cause of speech impediments. With an open bite, you’re also at risk of developing TMJ (thermo-mandibular joint) disorder.


Opposite to the aforementioned underbite, overbites are when the upper teeth bite too far over the lower teeth. This is also commonly referred to as an overjet. While everyone has a bit of an overbite, they can become severe enough to affect your bite’s functionality, and the appearance of your face and smile. Extreme overbites can be caused by poor oral habits, and an underdeveloped bone structure.

An overbite can also make chewing and speaking difficult, much like an underbite can. The tooth placement has the potential to cause uneven wear, which can lead to varying levels of discomfort, pain, even joint problems sooner or later.

Gapped Teeth

Gapped teeth have a few different causes, and greatly affect the functionality and aesthetics of your smile. Many people also feel self-conscious about noticeably missing teeth. Gapped teeth can be caused by tooth loss, which can cause the surrounding teeth to shift in the direction of the extra space. This can wreak havoc on the alignment of your smile. These gaps can also come from abnormal jawbone growth.

Aside from just the aesthetic issues, having large gaps and spaces can lead to periodontal pockets developing, and high chances of getting periodontal disease. Because gaps leave your gums entirely open, they’re more susceptible to damage and oral disease. While they would usually rely on teeth to protect them, without them there, they’re at risk of developing various issues.

Get a healthy, beautiful smile with orthodontics

Surgical Orthodontics

Sometimes, it takes more than orthodontic braces

Surgical orthodontics, jaw surgery, or orthognathic surgery treats and corrects jaw irregularities. These irregularities can become a problem deserving of treatment when they begin to affect your ability to chew, talk, sleep, and breathe. This surgery also improves facial appearance and structure.

When jaw surgery is required, total orthodontic treatment generally takes between 10 to 18 months of active orthodontic treatment. Varying waits for surgery and recovery time may extend the length of the timeline, depending on external factors. Both before and after your jaw surgery, you’ll need to wear braces and regularly visit your orthodontist so they can monitor your progress.

Patients can undergo lower jaw surgery, upper jaw surgery, or a combination of both. Patients usually heal within four to eight weeks, and most have their braces removed six to twelve months after surgery.


TMD, or temporomandibular disorder, occurs when there are problems with the muscles and jaw joints in the face. We can treat TMD and relieve symptoms through a variety of methods, including orthopedic appliances, medication, stress management techniques, and more.

Common Symptoms of TMD
  • Pain in the jaw joint area
  • Ringing or stuffiness in the ears
  • Frequent headaches or neck aches
  • Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
  • Muscle spasms in the jaw area
  • A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
  • Locked jaw
  • Limited opening of the mouth
  • Unstable biting position
Orthodontic treatment for tmd

Orthodontic treatment for TMD depends on the history and cause of the problem and on the individual, but common treatment options include:

  • Stress management techniques to reduce jaw clenching
  • Mouth exercises and function guidelines
  • Medication (pain meds, muscle relaxants)
  • Heat and cold compresses
  • Orthopedic appliances
  • Parafunctional habit controlling appliances

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can prevent you from achieving deep sleep, potentially disrupting your everyday life. Treatment for sleep apnea depends on the type, and the severity of the case. Oral devices can be used to position the mouth in a way that prevents throat blockage. In more severe cases, surgery may become necessary.

This condition can affect both adults and children and has to be diagnosed by a physician or a specialist in sleep medicine using a sleep study.

Signs of Sleep Apnea

Contact us if you notice one or more of the following symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Loud snoring at night
  • Waking up at night short of breath
  • Snorting or choking sounds during the night (indicating a restart of breathing)
  • Headaches upon waking in the morning
  • Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
  • Extreme drowsiness throughout the day
  • Very low energy throughout the day

Orthodontic Braces FAQ

How Long Does Treatment Take?

It’s important to remember that orthodontic treatment isn’t a quick fix – achieving your dream smile takes time, and treatment doesn’t always go exactly according to plan. As a rule of thumb, you should expect to be in braces for roughly two years, which is the average length of time it takes to achieve your perfect smile. Though our orthodontists will provide you with an estimated timeline, sometimes teeth move in unexpected directions, and adjustments need to be made. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing; making small changes and adjustments simply means we’re monitoring your treatment very closely, and doing everything we possibly can to make it perfect!Just know that we’ll only ever provide you with a timeline that’s necessary to solve all of your orthodontic needs, and any changes to it only mean we’re doing everything to help you reach your smile goals!

Do Braces Hurt?

Contrary to popular belief, orthodontic treatment is actually virtually painless. At most, you’ll experience mild discomfort after your braces are initially bonded to your teeth, but this feeling always fades, and can be easily managed with over the counter ibuprofen. Remember to always use as directed.

Periodic adjustments that are necessary for your treatment to commence may also inflict a little discomfort, which does quickly fade. Handling the discomfort with ibuprofen as recommended can ease any unwelcome sensations, and help you to adjust to the new way your braces fit.

How Can I Recognize A Potential Bite Problem?

If you notice teeth that are extremely crowded, crooked, or protruding in odd or irregular places, this is a good indication that orthodontic treatment may be needed. There are also less obvious and less visual signs, such as loud mouth breathing, frequent biting of the cheek, speech and sleeping difficulties, general pain and discomfort, and frequent headaches. If your teeth don’t meet properly when you bite down and prevent you from properly chewing food, this could also be indicative of a bite problem. Your orthodontist can evaluate your bite, teeth, and their relation to your jaw in order to diagnose any issues you may have. Braces can correct all of these issues to make sure your life becomes comfortable and easy once again.

D. Marquez, ★★★★★ Google Review

Awesome office and staff! Highly recommend! I’m in my late 20’s and I was very embarrassed to get braces at my age, but I felt comfortable at this office, Dr. Saleh and his staff are very knowledgeable and take they’re time to listen to all your concerns. I’m 4 months into my treatment and it’s been a very good experience so far!

C. Johnson, ★★★★★ Google Review

We had such a great experience here. My daughter is 2 and a half years old. I tried my best to prepare her for the dentist by showing her pictures of what the rooms would look like. It is great that there are themed rooms because it makes the kids excited to see the dentist. The staff were very friendly, Dr.Caldwell was great with my daughter! He is also a father and had a lot of relatable experiences with his child that he shared with us to give us advice on how to wean her off her soother. He was very pleased with her teeth and said to come back in one year for a follow up. This was a fun experience for both my daughter and I and I believe we found her perfect dentist match. Will be recommending and returning.

D. Browne, ★★★★★ Google Review

City Orthodontics is absolutely TOP NOTCH! The service we received today was friendly, knowledgeable and extremely accommodating. Dr. Saleh was able provided me with the best options for my daughter. This clinic is extremely clean and inviting with great staff to go with it. I would recommend this orthodontist to everyone! Thank you to Dr.Saleh and staff for making this experience such a positive one.

A. Nazari, ★★★★★ Google Review

My daughter (who is 3.5 years old now) has been to this office numerous times to see their Pediatric specialist. She is definitely not an easy child to please, but has done so well each time (did someone say Terrible Twos and beyond?!). I am so amazed by the genuine care and attention the staff and dentists have given us. I can’t wait for my son’s first appointment coming up soon! Definitely recommend if you are looking for the best care in town ????

Why Choose City Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry?

The Orthodontic and Pediatric specialists at our practice are committed to creating a welcoming environment that engages, comforts, and continuously educates patients of all ages during their oral care journey. Helping you achieve your smile goals, and giving you a healthy, beautiful smile for life is our passion. The convenience of having both Pediatric and Orthodontic specialists in one place allows us to be a one stop shop for both of these services – having a healthy smile has never been easier.

Child-Friendly Office

With gaming stations, televisions, and a baby play area, we strive to make your children comfortable in our fun and interactive practice.

Dedicated Specialists

Our practice has Pediatric Dentists and Orthodontists who are committed to providing you and your child with specialized care designed to make each patient feel and look their best.

Customized Treatment

We’re happy to answer all your oral care questions and help you find the right solution to improve your child’s smile. Book an appointment with one of our specialists to get your customized treatment plan.

Convenient Locations

Our 3 offices are conveniently located in the North, Central and South of Edmonton. We offer free parking and all locations are accessible by public transit.

Direct Billing of Insurance

Our clinic offers direct billing for orthodontic and pediatric procedures. Our staff is always available to help you with insurance claims and paperwork.

No Referral Necessary

We don’t require a referral to see one of our dental specialists. You may call our office or submit a form online to request an appointment.